November is gone, and December, flashing by at light speed. So much to write about, but given the choice between sitting in front of the computer and moving through the tasks at hand, I’ve chosen the latter! Our lives have been full of good everyday happenings– dinners with friends, school concerts, art classes, and creative projects of all sorts–just to name a few. In the midst of all the activity, we are more grateful than ever for the community we are starting to find here, but continually miss friends and family far away.
For the first time our family is not traveling this Christmas, and although there are pangs of regret for me, staying put is a gift in itself. More about Christmas at “home,” later.
Early in December my six year old remarked “I don’t like Christmas Carols. ” Then he paused and said, “What are Christmas carols anyway?” When I told him they were songs about Christmas he said, “Oh, actually I do like them.” The boys have been doing a lot of singing in the past few weeks. At school the kids have been preparing various Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa songs to sing in concert (in Spanish too!). Many of these songs came home in their heads, and I’d hear the boys humming to themselves or singing quietly in the back of the car. My five year old learned the verses of “Jingle Bells,” and over and over wanted me to start singing with the “dashing through the snow part.”
Then one day the six year old says to the five year old, “Did you know that there’s another way to sing Jingle Bells?” That’s right, the Batman way. Then with a wicked gleeful look in his eye he launches into “Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid and egg! Batmobii-le lost a whee-el, and the Joker got away! Hey!” and it was all downhill from there. My husband overheard the Batman version being sung and wondered aloud where they learned it. His comment was something like, “the funny thing is, we thought that was hilariously funny when we learned it at their age too.” They have no idea how long kids have been tweaking the song to impress each other. And as kids do, the five year old went on to teach the Batman Jingle Bells to his best little three year old buddy, and they happily sang it together over and over. I have to admit that even as the song gets old, really fast, the kids get such a kick out of it that I find myself smiling. A little.
Another family music favorite that has had its share of airtime is a home-made CD from the cousins, fondly referred to as “Tree-Hunting Tunes.” The recording dates back to a Children’s Radio Hour Christmas show in 1999, recorded on tape, by yours truly, as broadcast on Albuquerque Public Radio (KUNM). I gave the tape to my then very young niece and nephew, not knowing that the Radio Hour would become their all-time favorite Christmas recording, and the music they would listen to every year on their way to find a Christmas tree. When you’ve got songs like “What Do You Get a Wookie for Christmas,” “It Must Be Santa,” sung at super speed, and Louis Armstrong reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” in his warm gravelly voice, what is not to love?
A life full of song is a good one, and there is room for the goofy and spoofy, just as there is room for the reverent and soulful. With the strains of “In the Deep Midwinter” and “What Child is This” in the mix, I’m content.
So even if you don’t have a card from us yet, please know, we’ll be wishing you “the happiest, the happiest, and the merriest, the merriest!” wherever you are.